O rangasayee

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A sitar whines, a tabla strikes, a raga singer with a plaintive voice wills the devotee to action. Some say that Krishna is intimate to Tyagaraja. But this powerfully transporting youthful work preceded all his visits and studies and lengthy stays. McMurry ends in spasms on the floor.

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To call the audience entranced would restore that word to its original meaning. Their pearl necklaces are hanging.

Morris made this work for himself as a young man early in Bangles of some gopikas were tinkling. Or his hands hang limply from his arms, bent like dog paws.

O Rangasayee: Mark Morris Revisits His Iconic Solo Dance

Having suffered torture amidst malevolent people,I have come to witness your divine form shining with pearl garlands on your chest. Some are singing the praise of Hari.

And the prospect of seeing someone else execute them—above all this one, perhaps—seemed as daunting to this viewer as it must have been to the dancer taking it on. But this powerfully transporting youthful work preceded all his visits and studies and lengthy stays. Morris by now has a substantial history of rich engagement with India and Indian dance forms, and was thus the ideal choice to curate this festival.

Their breasts were shaking. Or, with both palms down and open toward rangasayse audience, his head bobbles on his neck, looking like something between an elegant Indian dance move and a camp imitation of a kitschy Eastern European tchotchke—you know, the one your mother brought back rangasaywe Romania.

Their curly hair was flying.

A sitar whines, a tabla strikes, a raga singer with a plaintive voice wills the devotee to action. This is rangasayse as 'Madhura Bhakti'. In this song Tyagaraja describes the episode of Gopikas rowing boat with Krishna.

More by T. M. Krishna

Their golden costumes were slipping. Some are kissing in all happiness. The quirky movements, sequences, and poses that comprise the choreography reappear again and again, starting to become friendly, reassuringly familiar, then beautiful; the mind welcomes their repetition with subtle variations as it might the tones of a mantra. He slowly raises his head and shoulders, stands, and strikes a pose. But, like the headwaters of the Ganges, nowhere else is it as bracingly clear and pure as here.

He has given in, been taken over, and offered himself up.

‎O Ranga Sayee by T. M. Krishna on Apple Music

The poses form a sequence. Then the piece accelerates.

Entranced we were, and so was he. Kasturi marks on their foreheads were melting. Some were telling Krishna's stories.

One arm is outstretched like an arrow; the hand on the other, palm outward, covers eyes that gaze up rangasqyee away. Some say that Krishna is intimate to Tyagaraja. Oh Ranga Sayee Rangaasayee Vishnu reclining in yogic sleep Why don't you respond to my call and come to me saying 'oh'.

His torso welcomes torque. But McMurray has much to bring to the role: Some are praying to the Goddess Yamuna. Bliss overwhelms the dancer.

Hair knots of some gopikas are loosening. You are the jewel of Tyagaraja's heart.

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